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Tips for Protecting Your Car Against Mother Nature and Road Salt this Winter12.7.2012 | Okan Sengullu

Winters in Chicago can be rough for motorists. Sub-zero temperatures can prevent your engine from starting, snow on the streets often causes traffic delays, and salt on the roads from city trucks can rust the underside of your car. But if you have your mechanic prepare your vehicle for the snowy season, you can avoid a lot of winter driving woes. To cope with winter, you should:

Winterize Your Car

Your mechanic can help you prepare your engine for colder weather. First, get an oil change, and make sure you have lighter, winter-grade oil put into your car. Change your antifreeze every year, and ask for de-icer in your wiper fluid, so you don’t end up with big ice crystals on your windshield every time you try to clear it. While you are waiting for an oil change, make sure that the mechanic looks at your windshield wipers as well; you want to make sure they aren’t worn out in case you have to rely on them. Check your tires and make sure they are filled to an adequate pressure or even a few lbs. above what is recommended, since the air inside shrinks when it’s cold out. Also, you may want to consider investing in snow tires.

Check Your Battery

Even a fully winterized engine won’t start if your battery is dead, so ask your mechanic to make sure yours is in good working order. Colder temperatures affect the chemical reactions in your battery, especially if it is more than three years old. If your battery has trouble starting your car in warmer weather, you can expect trouble in the winter. Make sure you have a strong battery and protect it with a battery blanket—cold temperatures can stop even a new battery from producing a sufficient charge.

Wash and Wax Your Vehicle

The city keeps major streets clear in the wintertime by aggressively salting. As the snow melts and turns to slush, the salt dissolves, and when you drive on the street, salt water covers the underside of your car and often splashes up onto the doors as well. Salt not only damages the paint, it also rusts the body of your car over time, causing irreparable damage. Have your car waxed before the snow arrives, and wash it frequently to remove salt buildup.

To get your car ready for the Chicago winter, make an appointment with Bucaro Brothers Auto Care by calling (773) 570-4541.

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